By Steve Rensberry, Editor
Elections are as American as apple pie, but the percentage of people who partake in each respectively is, well, heavily skewed toward apple pie. It doesn’t help when people who volunteer to watch the polls get called names like “fascist,” which happened to a close friend of mine last year at a polling place in our very own county. And for what? Apple pie is a sweet, delicious, and delightfully social confection. Elections, obviously, can be a raucous, bitter, divisive, and distinctly anti-social — and a definite deterrent for people who just don’t need that kind of negativity in their lives.
Is it any wonder that roughly 60 percent of the population bothers to vote in presidential election years, and only around 40 percent during midterm elections? Local and Primary election turnouts are even lower.
Don’t get me wrong. I was a mass communications major, and political science minor in college, and sat through more lectures than I can count where the topics of civic engagement and voter apathy were raised, both of which I agree are vitally important. The paradox is that one big source of fuel that helps make politics such an unsavory affair at times — as I understand it — are the U.S. Constitution and governing documents themselves, which were pretty much designed to slow things down, to foster debate and compromise, to prevent mob rule, and to provide checks and balances on any one branch of government–or any public entities for that matter–wielding too much power.
Why should people vote?
Not for the same reasons they eat apple pie!
Voting takes courage, a sense of caring, a conscience, and knowledge enough to choose wisely.
Eating apple pie just takes an appetite.
With that said, do your duty and vote — which you can now do early in Troy and in other municipalities around the county, ahead of the official April 2 Consolidated Election date. We still have a few Madison County Voter Information Guides around the office, so if you need one, stop on by. Copies are also available on line through Madison County Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza’s office at: www.co.madison.il.us/departments/county_clerk/.